Thursday Morning Open Thread

The Masters started today. All eyes on Tiger. I root for the Spanish brat, Sergio. And Lefty. But watching Tiger is watching the greatest golfer of all time and it is not even close (Nicklaus comes next on longevity grounds, Hogan on peak performance in '53.)

This is an Open Thread.

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    Three interesting developments (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:16:31 AM EST
    on the financial front today:

    1. They are talking about bringing back the uptick rule.
    2. Wells Fargo is reporting record profits.
    3. Treasury seems to have felt the pressure to make some sort of report in response to Warren as they released some fairly vague information today about the stress tests and health of the banks.  The gist is that none are failing, but many will still need more bailout money - and oxymoron to me - but I'm sure someone will explain that it is not - just that its too complex for me to understand.

    As to the uptick rule (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by scribe on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:54:51 AM EST
    "what took so long?"

    This is one of those no-brainers that should have happened months ago.


    As To #3, I'll Try... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by santarita on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:26:46 AM EST
    Banks may not be failing but some actions may need to be taken to prevent failure.  They may need to raise capital to maintain their level of business in a difficult economic time or to expand their level of business.  Maybe they can achieve the appropriate capital through selling off assets or discontinuing certain lines of business.  Or maybe they can obtain capital by going to the private sector.  At present going to the private sector is not working.  So Uncle Sam may have to step in.  But Uncle Sam may require that the banks sell assets and/or discontinue lines of business as a condition for infusion of credit.

    An analogy, I think, would be the patient who comes in with an injury that could be life-threatening if not treated.  Does the medical staff walk away or intervene with tourniquets and anti-biotics?  And maybe a recommendation to lay off fatty foods?


    I actually do understand that, but (none / 0) (#60)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:51:26 AM EST
    I think that saying that they are all going to pass the stress tests and then saying they'll need more money suggests that passing these stress tests isn't all that hard.  There's obviously enough stress to merit Treasury thinking that they are going to continue to hand out money.

    The Stress Tests Were... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by santarita on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:09:32 PM EST
    for the purpose of determining the existing capitalization levels and the projected capital needs.  Geithner and the regulators said from the very beginning that it was not a pass/fail situation.  So I think they anticipated that some banks would need to increase capital in order to maintain their business lines.  The injection of capital by US should entail some pain for those banks, I hope.

    (Just because I try to explain their thinking, doesn't mean I'm on board with them.)


    I understand that too. (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:44:09 PM EST
    But here's the thing I am really getting at - Geithner's people are really worried about a crisis of confidence - that is one of their top worries right or wrong - when they build up these stress tests - or any other component of these plans for that matter - they need to communicate convincingly about what they're doing and what the results are every step of the way if they want to build confidence.  The CNBC reporters were practically laughing at this news this morning as it was not only vague, but congnitively dissonant to them too.

    What we heard today really reminds me of Greenspan in the old days when he go to Congress and tell them five different conflicting things and everyone would call him a genius.  Thing is that those days are over.  People got tricked by Greenspan and they know it now.  So this stuff where you say "The fundamentals are sound, but we still have to take the HIGHLY unusual step of giving them billions of dollars" just doesn't cut it the way it used to.

    You rightly point out that Geithner has tried to deliver this information in a context that he hoped would qualify the stress test information, but I think he's done and is doing a very poor job if he's managed to confuse some segment of just about every one of his key audiences.  Again - neat trick from Greenspan who somehow convinced everyone that even though when he spoke he made no sense at all he was secretly a super genius - those days are over and even if they weren't I don't think that Geithner has the personality to pull off that kind of scam - at least not on that scale.


    I Agree With You... (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by santarita on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:01:36 PM EST
    one of the obvious problems is that the Obama Administration has not taken the time to explain their assumptions and why the steps that they are taking are proper.  Obama talks in broad platitudes, Geithner et al talk in guarded fashion.  It doesn't help much that groups like Congress could engage in good and meaningful dialogues with Geithner (like Congress) use the opportunity to posture.  

    There are lot of inconsistencies that need explaining in terms we can all understand.  If they can't do that, then people will assume the worse.


    "Guarded fashion"... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:13:30 PM EST
    makes sense, Geithner is a bankers banker...very hush hush, don't let the rubes in on all the dirty shady details.  

    Well said, Santarita (none / 0) (#83)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:59:36 PM EST
    I wonder what %age of the Wells profits (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:40:36 AM EST
    are from "cash injections?"

    A Lot Has To Do With... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by santarita on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:34:13 AM EST
    the fact that Wells is borrowing at close to 0% and is able to lend out at higher rates.

    And the fact that it was able to take over Wachovia, write down the losses from that action and is now enjoying the benefits of that merger - increased market share in the Southeast.  Thank goodness that Citi didn't take over Wachovia as the Feds were pushing.

    Wells making $$$ is a good thing.  It means that it can repay US.  

    When all the dust has settled, there will be a banking system - although smaller and more heavily regulated.  So I'm rooting for a quick return to health for the banks and a good set of regulations.


    No question (none / 0) (#58)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:41:28 AM EST
    Citi taking on Wachovia would have been a disaster.

    "Cash Injection"... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:43:18 AM EST
    love that term...very apt, money junkies need cash injections to keep the sickness away, and too much is not enough.

    I like Wells so far (none / 0) (#69)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:00:08 PM EST
    They are the only credit card I kept after my
    B of A purge. They keep the interest rates reasonable.

    Anti-vegetarian bias at the Colorado DMV (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by scribe on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:00:37 AM EST
    A lady, longtime vegetarian, wanted vanity plates to express her love for tofu and, is the way things are done, submitted the letters/numbers she wanted.

    DMV:  Denied!

    Apparently, the filthy-minded people at Colorado's DMV found a way to find something offensive in the proposed plate:


    Can't for the life of me see what's offensive about that....

    I can see clear as day... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:46:24 PM EST
    what the DMV thinks is offensive about it..."I Love to F*ck You".  

    Now that should be the motto of the DMV:)

    Motor vehicle bueracrats are morality police now?...thats just ducky.


    Yes, the morality decision (none / 0) (#71)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:02:01 PM EST
    is obvious, but I am pretty sure that the DMV in every state has a set of specific things they are not going to allow on license plates.

    In this woman's case, I would think she was setting herself up for some non-stop ridicule (if not outright problems for herself) both while driving and when exiting or entering her vehicle.

    That plate reads like an invitation.


    Maybe she loves... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:15:47 PM EST
    more than just tofu and was looking forward to the attention from gentleman callers:)

    I'm sure you're right about the DMV, only license renewal fees and registration fees are allowed to be offensive, got forbid a license plate contain letters that could be construed as a cuss.


    I'd say that is a possibility :) (none / 0) (#82)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:58:34 PM EST
    We deal with this constantly. Every movie that shows on tv bleeps out words that are only offensive to the very, very self-righteous.

    You know (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:09:23 PM EST
    I'm not a prude or self-righteous, but sometimes I think the language on TV goes a bit far myself for primetime - it's just a bit in-your-face.  (I also think people who need to constantly resort to dropping the f-bomb have limited vocabularies and aren't very original, but that's just my opinion).

    It's overused... (none / 0) (#92)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:19:19 PM EST
    by myself and many, but I love the f word, so versatile!

    I find regular network programming nearly unwatchable because the characters can't speak like people on the street do...a big reason cable sitcoms and drama kick the networks arse is because the dialogue is truer to life.


    I'm the opposite (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:29:54 PM EST
    I find it distracting.  I think people like Chris Rock would be a whole lot funnier if they eliminated that word from about 80% of their routine (Bill Cosby is still hilarious and doesn't have to resort to using it at all). I'm not a prude who thinks people don't say it, or don't ever find it funny, but it's said for the shock value, and when you say it all the time (or hear it all the time), it loses that value and it's unimaginative.  

    I can watch a cop show on TV (and I watch most of them) and get the "real life, nitty-gritty" feel of the drama without them having to drop the f-bomb.  I KNOW cops use it all the time, but it isn't necessary. Lazy, unskilled movie / TV writers use it - good ones can get their point across without it being every other word.

    Anyway, not here to change anyone's minds. JMO, as I said.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#94)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:33:15 PM EST
    totally a question of taste.

    True, but I think (none / 0) (#97)
    by scribe on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 03:32:29 PM EST
    Chris Rock is gut-busting funny, in part because he does use that language.

    Like the one bit about the difference between pre-marital and post-marital ... um ... relations (particularly the oral kind).

    Or this one on how not to get your a*s kicked by the po-lice (language marginally safe for work).


    It can, I agree, but (none / 0) (#99)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 04:15:28 PM EST
    they bleep out a word like sh*t but allow b*tch in the next sentence. I find myself trying to read lips to see what they've bleeped.

    Always have 6-10 combinations (none / 0) (#42)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:06:19 AM EST
    ready when you apply for a vanity plate.  The odds are good you won't get your first pick.  "foo" instead of "fu"?  "phu"? "phoo"?

    Getting uglier (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:27:52 AM EST
    No surprise for anyone that many firms are making significant cuts in pay.

    In 1933, at the bottom of the Great Depression, cuts in pay and hours were the norm.  It wasn't just the over 25% unemployment rate (over a third in many areas) it was also significantly reduced pay for those who still had jobs.

    JJ Jr a target of ethics investigation (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:34:00 PM EST
    Please, oh, please let them find something on him!  There's got to be a reason they are investigating him and not Charlie Rangel.

    $2 Billion For Child Care From the Stimulus (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by daring grace on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:30:35 PM EST
    is available to states according to the AP.
    The article says it's for parents who are working, looking for work or getting job training or education.

    It's been a long eight years. I saw the headline and rubbed my eyes in wonder. Forgot this was something gov't could do...

    My daughter is studying (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:10:12 PM EST
    for an early childhood ed/special ed degree -- and getting called in for interviews in the field, at last.  (She went back to school after being laid off from her previous field.)  She is being told that enrollment in child care centers already is up.  Up? I said.  With so many parents out of work?  Yes, she was told -- because more  parents also laid off now are putting together other jobs, parttime jobs, so they are working more than 40 hours a week.  And thus, they need more child care hours.  

    So is Obama already backtracking (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by of1000Kings on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 05:26:07 PM EST
    on another key point of his being elected?

    looks like he's not even going to attempt to push cap-and-trade...

    not sure how much more hope I have left in the tank; it's emptying pretty quick.

    Mets 2-0.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 08:56:48 AM EST
    Yanks 0-2...all is right in the baseball universe.  Ollie hurls for the sweep today at 12:30.

    Thank the gods of summer baseball is here to distract from the sorry state of the union...and The Masters for the weirdos that enjoy watching golf:)

    The end of times must... (none / 0) (#5)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:21:30 AM EST
    ...be near.  Both the Orioles and the Rockies are in first place!

    Tomorrow is Opening Day at Coors Field, hoping for good weather (ie, no snow).  Last year was the first one I've ever missed, so its nice to get back into the swing of things again.  

    Are you going to bid on Madoff's Met tickets, kdog?


    Sure thing.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:31:42 AM EST
    once I get my bailout check:) I assume the trustee doesn't have the power to give the tickets to Make-A-Wish or some other kids charity...which would be the cool thing to do.  Let some poor kid have the best seat in the house for a change instead of some suit who probably thinks David Wright is Norville's brother.

    Enjoy the opener, hopefully its not too frigid and the Rockies get the W!  


    That would be... (none / 0) (#13)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:52:01 AM EST
    ...indeed be the cool thing to do.  When I was but a wee lad, my Aunt arranged a "special" day for me at an Orioles game--which included a visit to the locker room and getting to meet my hero, Brooks Robinson.  Very cool indeed.  

    BTW, you'd love golfing if you went with the crew and I.  


    Brooks Robinson... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:01:25 AM EST
    before my time, but I've seen the highlights.  Played a mean hot corner that cat.  Got served in '69 though:)

    I'm sure I'd have a blast with your crew, but not because of the golf!  


    Sure... (none / 0) (#18)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:09:07 AM EST
    ...open up that old wound!  

    Still have the baseball he signed--and now its a HOF signature.  I think the female family members were a little disappointed that I picked Brooks instead of Jim Palmer.    


    A Jim Palmer crush makes sense... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:24:35 AM EST
    my sister had the hots for Wally Backman, former Met 2nd basemen, hardly the matinee-idol type...never could figure that one out.  

    She tells a great story of meeting him at a NY Ranger game and pulling a Ralph Kramden "homina homina homina" shaking like a leaf routine while getting an autograph on her Rangers ticket stub, as well as the hefty-lefty "El" Sid Fernandez.  Ticket is on the wall in her den.


    Salt in the newly opened old wound? (none / 0) (#61)
    by CoralGables on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:08:26 PM EST
    Donn Clendenon/Ed Kranepool, Al Weiss/Ken Boswell, Buddy Harrelson, Ed Charles/Wayne Garrett, Cleon Jones, Tommy Agee, Rocky Swoboda/Art Shamsky, Jerry Grote, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Gary Gentry (not to mention Nolan Ryan out of the bullpen).

    But just to rub it in more..JC Martin bunting.


    Buddy Harrelson... (none / 0) (#63)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:14:14 PM EST
    was my moms crush...she shudders at the mention of Pete Rose to this day after he decked "her Buddy" at second base after a bang-bang double play during the NLCS that year.

    I wasn't even born yet and I fell like I know all those guys....good stuff Coral:)


    Other than (none / 0) (#74)
    by CoralGables on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    Buddy and Charlie Hustle scuffle, there was only one other baseball fight in my lifetime that had me wanting to dive through the television screen to take part and help one of my childhood heroes. That was when Robin Ventura decided to charge the mound to fight another beloved '69 Met Nolan Ryan. The 46 year old Nolan Ryan needed no help from me though as he pummeled the 26 year old Ventura.

    I remember that... (none / 0) (#76)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:19:59 PM EST
    Ryan discarded Ventura like yesterdays trash!

    My all time favorite baseball fight has to be when Ray Knight decked Eric Davis at 3rd base during the '86 season...that Ray Knight was fiery.  Sadly I can't find either brawl on youtube.


    When my mom was president of (none / 0) (#48)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:13:42 AM EST
    our elementary school's PTA, she invited a young Orioles pitcher to the school as a fundraiser - a very young - and very gorgeous - Jim Palmer...my mom introduced me to him, and I just remember being dumbstruck - he had the most beautiful eyes!

    I think I was already in junior high, but my brother was in elementary school, playing Little League baseball, and if I am not mistaken, it was the spring of '66, the year the Orioles took the World Series in 4 straight from the Dodgers.

    I chatted with Brooks Robinson about 8 years ago, when he and I were both at the orthopod's office, waiting for x-rays; he had had his knees replaced and I had had shoulder surgery.  What a nice man - just a real gentleman.

    Those were the days...


    Take a minute for (none / 0) (#51)
    by scribe on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:25:33 AM EST
    the memory of LA Angels starter Nick Adenhart.

    He started last night, and was killed in a hit-run MVA on the way home from the park.

    22 years old, he pitched 6 scoreless last night, and took a no-decision in the Angels' loss.

    1-0 lifetime in 4 career starts.


    So sad to hear (none / 0) (#84)
    by Amiss on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:01:54 PM EST
    when a young promising life is taken so early. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

    Not another learning experience! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 08:59:42 AM EST
    This time, it's our Neptune washer - one of the original front loading washers.  (Everyone makes one now.)

    It's not an obstruction in the water pump.  We've done that twice before.  Cheap and easy to fix.

    It's not the water pump.  It's not the motor or the electronics - both of those are expensive and generally signal the end of the washer's life span.

    Nope, we've got an unknown but small object lodged in an inaccessible place.  No repair today - the repairman has to go consult and decide the best way forward.  He's only seen it twice before.  I feel special. ;)

    BTW - I enjoy talking to the repairmen.  I usually pump them for information on what brands and models are cheap POS and which ones are better buys.  

    I didn't know... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:03:59 AM EST
    washing machine repairmen were still around...I thought they were fast becoming obsolete like tv repairmen and cobblers.

    Good for you Fabian for going the repair route...our national habit of throw-away & replace seems so wasteful to me....though it has come in handy, at least half the furnishings in my crib came free from somebody elses trash.


    I know that (none / 0) (#7)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:25:45 AM EST
    my washer is expected to last 8-12 years.  It's now ten years old.  I may get lucky.  

    I did find out the salvage guys are experts at extracting everything they can from discarded appliances.


    1992 (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by talesoftwokitties on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:39:08 AM EST
    My Sears washer is 17 and still spinning like crazy - it's even walked across the room a few times!

    Repair (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:53:42 AM EST
    BTW - I enjoy talking to the repairmen.  I usually pump them for information on what brands and models are cheap POS and which ones are better buys.

    And you actually think they'd give you good information that might put them out of work? ;-).

    No repairmen in this family.  My husband is so handy, can literally fix anything.  He's a mechanical engineer by trade, but his handiness is a true talent, far exceeding any education he's ever had.  Installed a new breaker box, fixes everything plumbing, installed a new hot water heater,  builds decks, kept our 20 year old Kenmore dryer from dying.   Totally a gem.  

    His father is kind of mean about husband's handiness, though.  When he and none of the other car doods in the family could figure out what was wrong with the nephew's junker Olds, husband came by with some simple electrical diagnostic tool that his father also had and pinpointed the issue right away.  All his father could say was, "glad you had that equipment".  It wasn't just the equipment that figured it out! Nobody else had even thought of trying what Alan tried.  But I digress.  Some people have such egos!


    Good machines give them work! (none / 0) (#19)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:12:26 AM EST
    Cheap junky machines are great for people who sell replacements.  When it's cheaper to replace than repair, the repairman just gets paid to deliver the bad news.

    I also learn about things like dryers being installed with vents that are thirty feet long!  "Should be against code" was his opinion.  I can clean my dryer vent out easily - you'd have to call a professional to clean out an overly long run.  


    Guys are also (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:44:15 PM EST
    irritated beyond belief by badly made stuff.  They get sick of having to tend to the same models for the same problems over and over again.  They're not salesmen, they're technicians, and the voluble ones will take great pleasure in spouting off at length about different models and their relative quality.

    I once had a TV repair shop I patronized with a guy like that.  He could tell you why you brought the TV in 9 times out of 10 just by knowing the model and the year you bought it.


    The challenges come in how (none / 0) (#85)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:06:39 PM EST
    manufacturers have decided to change things that should be obvious.

    I have looked and looked and cannot find the battery in my car. I know there is one 'cause the guy at Les Schwab tightened the connections a few months ago.


    If I were a younger man, I'd specialize (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by tokin librul on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:01:50 AM EST
    in repairing washers.

    They're mainly heavy, simple machines. Their weight is mostly in the motor. The plumbing is pretty primitive. The electronics anymore are all plug-in modules...

    And you can charge a pretty good tariff for fixin' em: $50-75/hr, plus parts...


    The electronics (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:05:43 AM EST
    are both wonderful and danged expensive.  When the electronics go, people frequently opt to get a new washer instead of laying out hundreds of dollars for the replacement parts.

    Sad but true.


    And since (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by cal1942 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:53:13 AM EST
    the job is geographical it couldn't be offshored.

    Someone told me (none / 0) (#20)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:20:31 AM EST
    their hot water heater repairman charged $150 just for travel time, before any work was actually done!  

    Yep, repairmen make a bundle.  And yes the parts  on washers and dryers definitely modular; however, most people are terrified to try fixing them themselves.


    Furnace repair (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Cream City on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:37:16 AM EST
    is the real ticket to wealth "InSnow" regions in snow time, as I bet you know from your sig.  When our furnace in the frigid northland went out on Christmas Eve, with a full house of company with us including small children, it was triple pay for the labor -- and even then, we had to wait for hours until the only repair guy who would come first had to go to midnight mass.

    The bill was $301.42.  That's $300 for labor and $1.42 for the part, a little furnace thingabob that went on the fritz (that was the technical explanation from the pricey labor:-).  Had it not been for the full house of folks with us, we might have just bundled up and built a fire.  But then again, there's the frozen pipes problem . . . so plumbing also is a good line of work, which cost us even more this winter.


    Aw. Sorry to hear that. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:00:50 AM EST
    When our furnace died the big death, I sat there and looked over the guy's shoulder as he checked and double checked the control box, which was literally a "black box".  Input went in and nothing came out.  He was verifying that all the wiring was good and that the actual electronic piece was the part that wasn't working.  We could have replaced the part, which was so rare that it was a special order but the repair (parts&labor) would have cost us half the material cost of a new, much more efficient furnace.  

    When we purchased the furnace, they waived the cost of the service visit.

    (Holiday service calls generally mean double or triple the usual hourly rate.)


    Not so simple anymore (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:46:27 PM EST
    The newer ones have fewer mechanical dials and settings and use fancy-schmancy computer chips to choose water temp and length of wash cycles now.  I'd far rather go back to the days when I could choose my own water temp and wash cycle.

    Very true... (none / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:10:59 PM EST
    and when the computer chips or circuit boards get fried by a power spike or moisture, repair often isn't an option, you can only replace the whole thing.

    One thing I've learned working in plumbing...electronics and water don't mix well.  All the fancy-schmancy new fangled electronic sh*t like sensor-operated valves and fixtures, solenoid operated stuff...more trouble than its worth.

    If I ever come into possession of a commercial building, its mechanical plumbing products all the way.


    Me, too! (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:51:13 PM EST
    Got one of those expensive Whirlpool front-loaders a  couple years ago for the sake of my septic system, and it's gone haywire.  Smart local appliance repair guy can't figure it out, and Whirpool refuses to even talk to anybody but their "certified" (and expensive) repair people.

    Mine is almost certainly a failure of the blasted circuit board, since the local guy couldn't find any obstructions or mechanical problems.

    What do you suppose the small object is, something that was in a clothes pocket?


    It's smaller than a kid's sock. (none / 0) (#91)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:19:16 PM EST
    It's bigger than a cotton swab.

    That's all I know.


    Tiger domination (none / 0) (#6)
    by BigElephant on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:24:32 AM EST
    I heard a great story about Tiger Woods.  A semi-famous book author was at the same hotel as Tiger Woods and they both ended up working out at the gym one night -- just those two.  

    The author asked Tiger Woods, "What motivates you each day?"  Tiger's response, "The number 18".  The author said, "Yes, reaching Jack's record will be a huge accomplishment."  At which point Tiger responded, "No, I mean a perfect round of golf."

    If Tiger.... (none / 0) (#41)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:03:55 AM EST
    ...or anybody else starts hitting 500+ yard drives (needed to ace a par 5), I'll be very impressed and just a little leery.  

    450m + accuracy? (none / 0) (#45)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:10:03 AM EST
    It would take some serious luck to hit a ball half a click with any accuracy.  

    I dunno - what's the likelihood of hitting a target at 450m with a firearm?  


    On an Executive Course,... (none / 0) (#57)
    by santarita on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:39:24 AM EST
    maybe it's possible.  Of course, with Tiger just about anything is possible.  

    Now for me, I'd have to quit after the third hole and if I'm playing well, maybe the fourth.  


    this is pretty funny (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 09:26:48 AM EST
    its a joke video about our game (which will be in stores next month) that grew from a silly image someone posted on a gamesite months ago when some of the first stills of the game were released.
    I particularly like the related sound effect.
    its actually in the game now.

    Ostrich as a Weapon

    hopefully Ernestine wont find out (none / 0) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:02:07 AM EST
    I thought I had heard every excuse... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:31:46 AM EST
    in the book for a positive drug test...till today.

    No more lame than "my wife spiked the meatballs" I guess...maybe one day we'll stop caring whats in the next person's bodily waste.

    I Dunno (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:36:57 AM EST
    I think that it is even crazier to rule against the cop because he allowed the now disreputable hair test to be performed. Seems to me the only reason he would have not allowed the test is if he was taking drugs.

    Or he bought the... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:40:12 AM EST
    magic shampoo from the head shop.

    I don't really care if he does blow or not...thats his business.  I care that you have to pee in a cup, or get scalped by the lab, to work in the first place.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:51:31 AM EST
    It is a huge business. I met a fireman at the local pub who loves to toke up but cannot because of regular drug tests. The lobby for these tests must be awesome as is the revenue.

    My buddy is sanitation... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:00:41 AM EST
    who tokes gets a heads up when they will be called to pee and has time to get the mask from GNC...I guess the FDNY is a tougher nut to crack, my fireman buddy with MS is scared to use for medical reasons as well because of the tests.

    It's a huge portion of the tyranny sector of the economy...no doubt, big bucks.


    I know that when... (none / 0) (#43)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:06:42 AM EST
    ...I go in for my monthly blood draws, the place is always packed with people waiting to get drug tested.  

    No doubt Quest Labs and all of the others make a pretty penny off of it.


    And good luck... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:33:14 AM EST
    trying to fight a false positive...thats like trying to fight the IRS.

    Let's See (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:36:16 AM EST
    FDNY: 11,600 firemen, 3200 EMTs and paramedics.

    NYPD: 37,838 uniformed police, 4,500 Auxiliary police, 5,000 School Safety agents, 2,300 traffic enforcement agents, 370 traffic enforcement supervisors.

    NYC Sanitation workers: 7,899 uniformed sanitation workers, and supervisors, 2,041 civilian workers.

    Total: 74,748 NYC drug tested workers.

    Drug tests cost $25 - $65 per test. Average $40.

    Drug testing, based on these numbers is $2,989,920/month.

    Not small change.



    Damn... (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:18:54 PM EST
    good job w/ the numbers squeak, and thats not even all the employees that get tested...the MTA and who knows how many others as well.

    What a waste....maybe the new dire economics will do away with it where liberty arguments have failed.


    Lets hope the FBI... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:38:07 AM EST
    doesn't bungle the latest Somali pirate situation and get the poor Captain killed...the shipping company should just pay the vig like any other taxpayer before somebody gets hurt.

    And lets hope the Somalis are treating him well.

    I have a feeling that if (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:44:12 AM EST
    that guy is killed those pirates may see "worlds end" sooner rather than later.

    I think the pirates.. (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:46:55 AM EST
    are smarter than that, they've treated seamen well in the past.

    Unless a US or UN strike force busts down the door, thats when it will end bad.


    Except for the amputated hands. (none / 0) (#96)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 03:12:27 PM EST
    The pirates did that? (none / 0) (#98)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 03:39:36 PM EST
    Not re this incident, but in earlier ones. (none / 0) (#100)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 04:20:40 PM EST
    Wow. Didn't know that. Thanks. (none / 0) (#101)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 04:35:06 PM EST
    Apparently not. I misremembered. (none / 0) (#102)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 04:37:31 PM EST
    Islamic Council stated proper punishment of pirates under Sharia law would be amputation of left arm or left leg.  

    Ah. Thank you. (none / 0) (#103)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 04:41:27 PM EST
    States look to raise taxes (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:49:12 AM EST
    Here we go!

    A free fall in tax revenue is driving more state lawmakers to turn to broad-based tax increases in a bid to close widening budget gaps.

    At least 10 states are considering some kind of major increase in sales or income taxes: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. California and New York lawmakers already have agreed on multibillion-dollar tax increases that went into effect earlier this year.

    Fiscal experts say more states are likely to try to raise tax revenue in coming months, especially once they tally the latest shortfalls from April 15 income-tax filings, often the biggest single source of funds for the 43 states that levy them.

    The squeeze is especially severe in states hit hardest by the recession, such as Arizona, where sales-tax revenue has fallen by 10.5%, income-tax collections are down 15.7% this fiscal year, and the government faces a $3.4 billion budget gap next year. But such shortfalls are likely to be widespread; federal income-tax receipts from individuals have dropped more than 15% in the past six months, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

    While most states so far have managed to cope with dwindling cash by cutting spending and raising fees on things such as fishing licenses and car registrations, that is unlikely to be enough in the new fiscal years that generally begin July 1, many analysts said.

    The homewoners I work with... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:55:33 AM EST
    are freaking about the end of the STAR property tax rebate here in NY...they've all come to bank on that money to take care of bills.

    Coupled with likely property tax increases, they're gonna be hurting next year...and I guess I should expect a long-overdue rent hike...my kind soul of a landlady has eaten previous recent tax increases, that can't last forever.

    The banks and insurers are taken care of though...thats all that matters to our leaders.


    Conficker rises (none / 0) (#30)
    by DFLer on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:49:29 AM EST
    Please update your anti-virus definitions on a daily basis. Regarding the Conficker worm scare...despite it not rearing its ugly head on April 1st, the threat is still out there, so it wouldn't hurt to be a little careful.

    From the Kaspersky anti-virus expert guy: Do Not Google for, then go to sites, looking for info re Conficker worm (not dead yet) The b%st%rds have set up the infections at sites that a google search would come up with.

    More info about the worm rising here:(zdnet)
    This is a safe site.
    Also shows list of bad sites re the google search

    Live Masters coverage (none / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:51:51 AM EST

    Thanks (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 10:58:26 AM EST
    Link added

    By using picture-in-picture (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:12:18 AM EST
    you can watch Amen Corner and holes 15 & 16.

    T. Woods +1 through 6. (none / 0) (#95)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:40:39 PM EST
    Thanks... (none / 0) (#59)
    by santarita on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:44:15 AM EST
    my cable is out and I won't have it fixed until Saturday.

    I'm hoping for a Return of the Tiger but it would be a hoot to see Anthony Kim win.  And I like Camilo Villegas.  


    Here a Ponzi, there a Ponzi (none / 0) (#44)
    by scribe on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:10:02 AM EST
    everywhere a Ponzi, Ponzi.

    This one - small potatoes, really - allegedly scammed the sailing yacht set in Newport, Rhode Island out of about $7 million.

    But she got a nice mahogany ocean-sailing yacht out of it and everyone had a good time until the money came up missing.

    Local hero guy, (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:22:10 AM EST
    who was beloved because he donated a cool $1,000,000 a few years back to help build a truly stunning playground in honor of his special-needs nephew, just got indicted for bilking customers out of around $17,000,000.

    Chump change I guess to some Ponzis...


    Tom Noe (none / 0) (#90)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:17:36 PM EST
    gave quite generously to charities....right after he got a government money to invest.  That didn't turn out well, I believe Noe is still serving on federal and state convictions.

    Some trivia (none / 0) (#46)
    by joze46 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:10:41 AM EST
    Some trivia after talking with an associate about home value and the current home loan crisis, especially about derivatives, he surprised me by saying he was a former Marine that used to work for a security subcontracting firm. He avoided identifying the firm he worked for. His pay was three hundred dollars a day watching Bandar Bin Sultan house in Aspen Colorado. Yikes.

    What I didn't know was this is the same guy, Bandar Bin Laden who is good friends with the Bush family?? Here we have a guy who is an ambassador to America representing the Saudi and this guy according to Forbes owns the most expensive house in America. Incredible, how can a guy on Ambassador Salary afford a one hundred and thirty five million dollar house. This is according to Google, Three hundred and eighty thousand square miles is a huge Ponderosa that has a lot of room to face Mecca.


    Sheesh, one could wonder how he pays the taxes to grease the Aspen economy.
    Anyway I almost fell over to find this out. Please I am a rookie at this stuff but it just is way too cock eyed. After you read the little stuff about this house it sounds like it is a self contained fortress loaded with goodies that can be anything stuff easily unloaded around the country by now. Sheesh.

    Don't forget the Saudi according to Gerald Posner in his book "Secrets of the Kingdom" wrote about how the Saudi purchased a huge block of plastic explosives that C-4 type on the open market years ago in the Balkans. It was said to be used for protection. In one chapter Scorched Earth describes how the Saudi rig their oil field for self destruction if they feel they are being over thrown. The up side is the shelf life expires about 2012. The down side is if any of this C-4 gets to their favorite son Osama Bin Laden he surely will use it. For me this clearly is telling why Cheney keeps crowing about the good chance America will see another terrorist attack. Should read Gerald Posners book its incredible it was advertised on C-span book week.    

    Er, Bandar bin Sultan (none / 0) (#86)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 02:07:57 PM EST
    not Bandar bin Laden, please.

    Also he is Prince Bandar, not some ordinary Saudi schmo.  He don't need no steenkin' salary, he's absolutely filthy rich beyond your and my wildest imagining.  Google the guy, not the house.  He's great buddies with the Bushes, but he's great buddies with almost anybody of importance anywhere in the world.  Very charming guy, apparently, with great skill at doling out just the right bits of gossip and secret policy info in the right ears at the right time.  He's out of favor with the royal family now, I believe, but he was for years a very major player in Washington.

    He probably has many $100 mill-plus houses he visits once in a while.


    Sergio just comes across (none / 0) (#49)
    by Amiss on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:16:23 AM EST
    as too big a whiner for me to pull for him.

    Larry Summers on C-SPAN (none / 0) (#65)
    by oldpro on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 12:32:53 PM EST
    is explaining the economy to us at the DC Economic Club of Washington...live.  More 'uhs' than Obama...and not an attractive persona until he began talking about what he's proudest of...his role in the Clinton economy and how many people's lives were touched by it.

    Now, back to THIS economy...stumbling/stammering around to keep from saying his then enthusiasm for deregulation was a mistake...in response to an audience question.

    It turns out he's an Obama kinda guy...hope and faith manifest...

    Picking Sergio to win it (none / 0) (#72)
    by KoolJeffrey on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:09:01 PM EST
    I think Sergio will do it for fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, who is battling brain cancer.

    As for Phil, I live in Scottsdale and eat often at a local restaurant called "Phil's Grill", which is located at his home course, Grayhawk. It's Mickelson central down here.

    I must say, I don't really get the appeal of Phil. Maybe it's because you are either a Tiger fan or a Phil fan. I definitely come down on Tiger's side, which does put me at odds with my friends who are long-time residents. Phil was a big star at Arizona State and people have kind of adopted him as their own.

    Virginia (none / 0) (#81)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 01:57:06 PM EST
    Rejects $125 million in stimulus money.

    This is a blow to Gov. Tim Kaine - the head of the DNC.

    Only open thread around (none / 0) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:01:21 PM EST
    I'm outta here for awhile.  Giant dog show in Perry GA with every big name GSD handler on this side of the globe there.  Boy is BTD ticked that he didn't get groomed tonight and isn't being prepared to be loaded.  He already knows what it means and that one show went right to his head and stuck there like mighty putty.  He's just a baby though and we are headed to play with the big dogs.  After that I'm off to Northport because my daughter needs me and I CAN be there for her right now.  When I get back you guys had better have all that ails this nation figured out.  I will take my laptop though and hope for times to be able to check in to make note of the fact of how close you are all getting :).

    Best of Luck to you MT and Safe Travels (none / 0) (#106)
    by Amiss on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:28:40 PM EST
    I am worrying about my adult daughter too, she has an awful lot on her plate at the moment.

    If I were physically able, and financially able as well, I would love to just travel around to the various dog shows. They just fascinate me. Keep us posted on the showing and I will say a special lil prayer for you tonite.

    Drive safely, remember it's a holiday weekend!


    Great expectations! Hope you (none / 0) (#107)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 11:29:26 PM EST

    I, on the other hand, am going camping in the desert near geothermal springs--all in honor of a good friend's retirement March 31.  Rain predicted and we are tenting!


    I love hot springs. (none / 0) (#108)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 08:58:29 AM EST
    My favorite sits on the side of a cliff in the Jemez mountains North of Santa Fe.  Such a beautiful, serene setting.  

    Do you have a good sleeping bag pad?  That hard ground is awful tough on the ol' bones, muscles and joints.

    Hope the rain doesn't preclude a nice campfire and smores!


    I just bookmarked the hot springs (none / 0) (#109)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 11:28:02 AM EST
    link.  As to sufficiency of sleeping bag and pad:  who knows.  I borrowed gear from a former Girl Scout leader.